Low-income households living in the most poverty-stricken zip codes in Harris County, Texas, will be able to receive special financial aid for the fall, after county commissioners approved a pilot program called Uplift Harris. This program aims to help those in need to tackle their financial needs.
Those families eligible for the program will be able to receive guaranteed income of up to $500 per month for 18 consecutive months, and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo assured that there will be “no strings attached” or restrictions, in terms of how beneficiaries can spend their money. “The reason it is what it is, is because this has already been studied at length,” Hidalgo said. “Now is it 100% the silver bullet for poverty. No, I mean, there is not a silver bullet for how to address poverty. There just isn’t. But it is one of the things that has shown the most promise.”
Who qualifies for the Uplift Harris program
The pilot phase of the program, which has a budget of $20.5 million, will first cover 1,500 families living below 200% of the federal poverty line, which in 2023 is equivalent to approximately $60,000 for a family of four.
Family selections will occur randomly with respect to the pilot program, or will be drawn from among populations of vulnerable residents who are part of county-run programs, including ACCESS in Harris County. The initial phase of the program will cover a period of 18 months and will be under the administration of an external entity.
You must reside in these postal codes to apply for the Uplift Harris program
The purpose of the program, according to officials, is to provide opportunities to reduce income volatility, increase employment, improve food security and provide housing stability. Other advocates also mentioned improving physical and mental health, as well as children’s development and learning.
Qualifying families for the Uplift program must reside in the following ten zip codes:
- Acres Homes
- Forest Acres
- Galena Park
- Greater Fifth Ward
- South Park
You could also consider the Harris County public health ACCESS program
The Harris County Public Health’s ACCESS (Accessing Coordinated Care and Empowering Self Sufficiency) program aims to provide specialized services to vulnerable populations in Harris County. The program is designed to address the critical needs of diverse groups in the county and improve their well-being and self-sufficiency.
The ACCESS program targets five groups of people in need:
- Beneficiaries of the Community Violence Interruption Program and Holistic
- Assistance Response Team participants in Harris County Sheriff’s Office Districts one and four.
- People with mental or physical health conditions experiencing homelessness.
- Black mothers identified as at-risk for health problems due to inadequate pregnancy-related care.
- Adults exiting the justice system and those soon aging out of foster care.
The program’s resources are intended to provide:
- Housing assistance
- Mental health services
- Dental services
- Food assistance
- Job training
Discover how to apply in the official website of the program here.